Those who are planning their estates must make sure that their plans are correct and mistake-free. If there are any errors, it can have ramifications for beneficiaries and relatives who are left to deal with the fallout. Probate and estate litigation are difficult and time-consuming, so mistakes should be avoided at all costs.

One of the biggest mistakes is not having a will in the first place. Even if there is a will, some err by making that their only estate planning document. There may be some necessary trusts that people forget that can keep their estates out of probate. Issues such as health care decisions and other powers of attorney are not addressed in a will, which can create problems.

Choices, such as who should be an executor and which beneficiaries to include, are also vital to get right. Sometimes, people end up choosing an executor who is either ill-prepared for the job or simply lacks the right qualities. When it comes to beneficiaries, sometimes people just forget to name them, making it more difficult to distribute property. As life situations and ownership changes, people need to update their wills to reflect their current situations. Courts will not try to read someone’s intent but will stick to what is on the paper.

Those who need assistance with estate planning issues should get legal help. An estate planning attorney may examine an estate plan and make sure that not only do the documents exist but that they are in the proper order. Lawyers can review will and beneficiary designations in order to catch the common mistakes that people make that cause their relatives to experience unnecessary stress after they are gone. An attorney may also be able to give advice about what needs to be changed.